Discussion Points for Punto Legal –May 01, 2019

Discussion Points for Punto Legal –May 01, 2019


1. Citizenship and the Marijuana Industry.

A number of states have enacted laws to decriminalize the growing, possession, and use of both medical and recreational marijuana. However, federal law classifies marijuana as a “Schedule I” controlled substance whose manufacture, growing, and possession, may lead to criminal and immigration consequences. Recently two permanent residents from Denver were denied citizenship because they worked in the marijuana industry. The immigration service has announced in writing that violation of federal controlled substance law, including for marijuana, is a bar to establishing good moral character for citizenship even where the conduct would not be a violation of state law. An applicant who is involved in the marijuana industry will be found to lack good moral character if found to have violated federal law, even if such activity is not unlawful under state or foreign laws. It is even more important for undocumented immigrants to stay away from jobs in the marijuana industry because they could be hit with bars you cannot overcome.

2. Adoption Attorney.

About three weeks ago, we got a call from someone seeking to adopt a child who lived in Mexico. Inter-country adoptions have become very complicated by the Hague convention on intercountry adoption. Both the U.S. and Mexico are parties to the treaty. I have located an attorney in Colorado who is knowledgeable in inter-country adoptions. Her name is Kathleen M. Glynn. She is at a law firm in Lakewood and can be contacted at (303) 679-8266.

I-693. I had a question this week about the immigration medical exam for an immigrant fixing his papers in the U.S. He had received a letter from the USCIS telling him he had not submitted a medical exam with his applications and would have to do submit a medical exam at some point in the future.

Almost all applicants for adjustment of status must submit a medical exam at some point in the immigration process. The primary purpose of the exam is to screen immigrants for TB and sexually-transmitted diseases. It also requires that you get certain vaccinations up to date. The medical exam is now valid for 2 years. Now you have three options for submitted the medical exam. First, you can send it in with your application to fix your papers. Second, you can take it to the interview and give it to the interview officer. Or, you can submit it after the interview when you get a request for evidence.

3. Adam Walsh Act.

When I talk to people who want to become permanent residents, I ask them about their criminal history because certain crimes can require waivers or prevent you from immigrating. Sometimes the U.S. relative who is petitioning for his spouse or children wants to know if his criminal history is relevant to the process. I tell them that we have fixed papers even where a citizen -petitioner was in prison. But there is one exception to this rule. A law entitled the Adam Walsh Act, which was passed in 2006. It imposes immigration penalties on U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are convicted of certain crimes against minors. A U.S. citizen who is convicted of a “specified offense against a minor” may be prevented from filing a visa petition on behalf of a close family member. The law provides an exception only if the immigration service makes a discretionary decision that the citizen or permanent resident petitioner does not pose a risk to the petitioned relative despite the conviction. Here is an example: Hector is a U.S. citizen who pled guilty in 2005 to soliciting a 17-year-old girl to engage in sexual conduct. In 2017 he submits a visa petition on behalf of his immigrant wife. Immigration authorities will run a background check on his name to discover the prior conviction. His visa petition will be denied, unless he is able to obtain a waiver based on proving that he is not a danger to his wife. “Specified offense against a minor” includes offenses that are not extremely serious, such as false imprisonment. It is defined as an offense against a victim who has not attained the age of 18 years, which involves any kind of sexual activity with a child.

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